Philippe Petit thinks of his tightrope performances as art. Taking on a high-wire task himself, Robert Zemeckis, retelling Petit’s most famous walk, creates his own art, with a 3D mastery that is nothing but depth defying and beautifully sweat provoking.
Yes, this is the story of Petit’s notorious walk between the just built towers of New York City’s World Trade Center. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, balancing the Frenchman’s arrogance and lithe charm, plays the ambitious stuntman and much of the early part of the film focuses on how Petit learned his craft and then, collected the people and plans to help him, almost literally and certainly illegally, walk on air. All of this is handled with a light grace, along with a few comic moments. We know we’re all building up to ‘the walk’, a feat every viewer knows was actually accomplished. So how does Zemeckis grab us? It’s visual. And what visual.
A mass appeal movie that proclaims it’s going to ‘science the s**t out of this’? Go figure: this genuinely thrilling sci-fi thriller about smart people is also sensational entertainment.
Ridley Scott’s savvy spin on the best selling novel begins as a team of astronauts high tail it off of Mars, escaping an impending dust storm. One of their own has been killed in the evacuation and the long ride home is sad and sober. What they don’t know is that the man they left behind, their friend, is actually very much alive.
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